TENNIS FOREHAND GRIP | How Djokovic Gets Spin

TENNIS FOREHAND GRIP | How Djokovic Gets Spin

Hey everyone, it’s Jeff Salzenstein at, and in today’s video, we are going to answer a question that came up from a Tennis Forehand Solution member: a player that invested in the Tennis Forehand Solution, and had a question about a specific video. So, what I thought I would do today is answer that question over at the blog today, and then of course, if you’re smart, if you make the smart choice, you’re going to invest in the Tennis Forehand Solution, because not only has the feedback been phenomenal, but it will help your forehand. It is going to take your forehand to the next level. I’m covering all of the bases there, and I’m also adding new videos as we go along to answer your questions as members, because at the end of the day, I want to help you guys get better at tennis. So, the first part is, we’re going to talk about players that have an Eastern forehand. Now, in the Tennis Forehand Solution, I talked about how the Semi-Western grip, where you basically hold the racket like this. Okay, this is what the pros are doing. This is the preferred forehand. Now, even a guy like Federer, or del Potro, they’re not semi-Western, but they’re pretty darn close. Now, a lot of the Eastern forehands out there are more in that- that continental area for that wrecked player. So, I’m going to show you what you need to do with your backswing on the- on the Eastern forehand, because we haven’t talked about that too much in the Tennis Forehand Solution. Then, I’m going to go into the specific question that was asked to me that I’m going to answer on- on how to take your racket back properly if you have a semi-Western grip. So, Eastern forehand. To start, basically, you’re going to have that Eastern or that Continental grip, depends on how extreme you are, and when you start the racket, you want to make sure the strings that are going to hit the ball are going to be facing the net. Because of the grip, you’re not going to be able to turn your wrist like a normal forehand. So, you’re going to have to adapt here. The strings will face as you get ready, and as you prepare for the forehand. So, I’m going to do my best Eastern forehand demonstration now, even though it’s not a natural shot for me. Then, we’re going to come back, and answer that Semi-Western grip question on the take back. So, again, that’s not what we teach in the Tennis Forehand Solution, but I want to make sure that I helped provide some solutions for those that don’t have a semi-Western grip, and they’re not going to switch to a Semi-Western grip. Basically, you go with that Eastern forehand, Continental forehand, strings are going to face the net. Now, we’re going to go on to part 2, where I give you a solution on how you can change that to a Semi-Western grip, and get plenty of top spin like pros like Novak Djokovic. In this part of the video, we’re going to talk about the semi-Western grip, and how it relates to the backswing. And here’s the deal: when you deal with grips on the forehand, the take-back is going to be dependent on the grip, as far as how the backswing looks. We just talked about what happens in the Eastern forehand. With a Semi-Western grip, it really depends on how extreme your grip is with a Semi-Western. If you’re closer to Western, if you have an extreme semi-Western, I call it, like, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic, when you take the racket back, the strings that are going to hit the ball as soon as you take the racket back, it’s- it can start to turn and face towards the back corner like this. This is what you see Djokovic doing. If you have difficult time getting spin, I recommend this for some players: to take the racket back, and kind of, you turn the wrist a little bit, so that the strings face the back fence. Now, if your grip is not extreme enough, if it is not a true Semi-Western to extreme Semi-Western, it’s going to feel funny. If you’re more Eastern, you’re not going to be able to turn that wrist back like this. It’s going to feel awkward, so, make sure your grp is way over like Djokovic, if you’re going to try this technique that I’m talking about right here. So, when you take it back like Djokovic, make sure the strings are facing the back fence or this back corner over here, and then, you’re going to be able to get you’re able to drop the racket face. It’s going to be closed, and you’re going to be able to hit plenty of spin. So, I’m going to go ahead and show that to you right now. Again, the great thing about tennis is you don’t have to do a certain way. You don’t have to perform your- you don’t have to hit your forehand like Novak Djokovic, but what I’m trying to do is provide solutions for different forehands out there. So, if your grip is extreme, or you want to make it extreme, and you’re still having a hard time getting spin, make sure that the racket strings face towards the back fence, and you’ll be good to go on your forehand. So hopefully, you enjoyed this video, and leave a comment down below, and I’m also going to post a link in this blog that if you haven’t picked up the Tennis Forehand Solution, I highly recommend that you do so, because it is an incredible program, and it’s helping a ton of players, and it’s my life’s work on the forehand, getting people started on the fundamentals. Will talk to you soon. Thanks for your time, and we’ll see you later.

72 thoughts on “TENNIS FOREHAND GRIP | How Djokovic Gets Spin

  1. Why is it that even though Federer uses a more conservative semi-western that he generates a ton of topspin? I've heard he gets a ton of RPMs, second only to Nadal.

  2. @joshwesthill Do you have some proof? From all the analysis videos I've seen, like the FYB ones, it looks like he's using an extreme eastern or eastern.

  3. that eastern grip demo was like watching Rod Laver!!!! Try a Federer Eastern grip forehand…. he holds an eastern grip… whether you think so or not…. PS Conservative semi western? Are you serious? never heard of it…its an eastern!!!!! 😉

  4. i dont even know where in the video you found that he was teaching about finishing high. Get your ears checked. finishing high or across your body should be a personal preference, windshield wiper is not mandatory

  5. I believe you've been playing with yourself since you were 4. And I believe you can even do it with your left hand. 🙂

  6. im sure that when he plays for serious he doesnt do the strokes exactly like the ones in the video. also he was maybe a bit uncomfortable with the eastern, so his instinct was to compensate with a flat shot with high follow through. i thought his semi western forehand was pretty good, you cant say it was flawed.

  7. i agree, djokovic incorporates old fashion forehand. in which you whip the ball. you know the low to high and over the shoulder style that you learned when you start out. it gives the most power since your really pushing the ball but its not as consistent as modern style.

  8. Federer has a eastern grip that's it for forehand and he routinely has the strings facing the 3 o'clock position del potro has a sw grip an keeps the strings facing forward so go figure. The main thing is the racquet stays up then drops below the ball prior to forward hip rotation

  9. Great, my left earphone is broken and my left speaker is broken….why is this vid only have left sound working?

  10. I am using the Eastern grip on the forehand and have heard that the strings must face the ground on the takeback (to get better topspin).

    But in this video, the strings are not facing down on the takeback.

  11. Creating topspin got nothing to do with your grip. If u got the skill you can create a ton of topspin even with an eastern grip. Just look a fed…

  12. Jeff, I'm a former nationally ranked junior and Div I college player. However, I grew up playing tennis in the '70's so I have "traditional" forehand with eastern grip. I still enjoy the game and still in shape but I'm trying to transform my forehand to Western opened stance but I am having a really hard time making a transition. I tend to hit alot of balls in the net and over-rotate my body. Do you have any recommendations? Drills? (btw – your videos are really excellent)

  13. Fed contorts his arm and his wrist to get a more semi-western like shots. If you notice, his arm is normally straight which is highly unusual for contemporary players. Fed is great and is my favorite player, but Djokovic has the best strokes in the game.

  14. Djokovic forehand is among the best when it comes to topspin.
    5-Roddick{post 2007}
    are the best spinners in the atp
    Dont compare Fed with them.He wasnt second in the world.The analytics compared the top guys from that time which was in 07.He and roddick averaged the same back then,hitting more than Safin and less than Nadal.You all understood it wrong.He was never second in the world.

  15. Actually the comment you have about the strings facing, depending on the grip, is a new one I haven't seen , and it is a good tip.There are so many components to individual comfort, you have to pick out a few things and apply them. thanks

  16. The video is about adjusting take back depending on how extreme your grip is. And YES – you can finish high with semi or even full western depending on the ball you get. Jeff is a former top 100 player and a teaching pro. He knows his stuff.

  17. lol and also , his left hand!! lol it would be more usefull if the teacher of the tutorial would be right handed!!

  18. I still have not learned what grip is which. What bevel does my index knuckle and palm pad rests on etc….Telling me how to swing back with a simi western and I don;t have a clue what simi western in is counter productive for me.

  19. I find the semi w. a terrific grip must get used to keep my fingers on the handel up position just before contact in order
    to keep the rackethead perpendicular on contactpoint. thanks.

  20. Fed is halfway between a Eastern and a Semi-Western, aptly named the Extreme Eastern. He's in between the bevels for Eastern and Semi-Western.

  21.  A student cannot feel what you are verbally explaining; by watching any video a student cannot get the physical feeling of the motions.
    My TST_watch Tennis Swing Trainer YouTube_enable users to get visual and physical feeling of the exact mechanics of the right move by seeing and feeling the positions of the racquet, user’s arms_wrists_parts of the body at each moment of the swing.
    The laws of biomechanics/kinematics define the optimal swing;
    a player only demonstrates his own approach to the better use thereof.

  22. Now I'm trying to play western forehand, but I found that every shot i made are all to short and weak, I hope to make it deeper like Nole. What shall i do ?!

  23. You have described this wrong, it is an extension of the wrist, a hyper extension. So all he is actually doing is lay the wrist back. Its wrist lay back. If you use langauge like turn it makes you think of rotation of the wrist. Which you can not actually do cause that joint does not facilitate that movement. I know you might think turn is a laymens term, but its really easy to misunderstand.

  24. this is more of a amateur level stroke, not djokovic's. the pro's strokes are much more violent, throwing the racket with a loose wrist, not loopy

  25. How do I find the simi western grip? Could you explain using the index knuckle & heel pad; are both on bevel 4 or 3.5? What is strong Eastern?

  26. Thanks for the great tip on how to hit the topspin forehand with the semi western grip.
    The comparison between using the eastern/continental and the semi western (racket facing back fence) in the video says it all. I use the traditional eastern/ continental grip.With the semi western for a forehand , changing grips to hit a single handed backhand drive as J'Hue Casey says would be quite tricky.

  27. Jeff 2 days I tried this and I must say, it is a strange,uncomfprtable feeling. Djoko is using this tchnique since being a kid, It's a natural forehand for him. I think that for people like me, club players, even if good level, this technique might cause damages to the security of the forehand shot. And frankly the spin result is not so great.
    I am sure that another "trick" used by Jack Shock or Dominik Thiem, or Kokinakis is much better. These players are prepaering their forehand with the top of the racket head showing the net. This means that if they turn the top of the head backwards doint the BIG KICK just before hitting the ball, this is creating really a strong spinn and the ball is heavy. Speak about this technique.

  28. Don't let the tail wag the dog: there is only one way to create topspin and that is to strike the ball using a racquet path that sharply ascends. The steeper the ascent, the greater the amount of spin. Racquet head speed also increases the amount of spin you can get from a given angle of ascent.

    If you look at old videos of Rod Laver (using a continental grip), you will see his forehand has a lot of topspin. If you look at his forehand stroke path you will see the same "loopy" path that modern players use. Grips cannot create topspin; they can only facilitate the ease by which you can generate a substantially ascending racquet head path. The semi-western and western grips, by closing the racquet head make it easier to present a vertical racquet head to the ball at the moment of impact. A continental grip opens the racquet face and requires a LOT of wrist strength to close the racquet head to the vertical position at ball impact at the same time the racquet head path is sharply rising. It is no wonder that Laver's left wrist and forearm muscles were huge.

  29. Totally wrong about Eastern grip. WIth eastern grip, you still can face your racket to the fence at the back and it should be that way. He seems to be confused with Eastern and continental forehand grips.

  30. Jeff is a genius, always so helpful and very clear when explaing. But his pants are too baggy must be 2 sizes 2 big lol, is that American fashion?

  31. Forehand myths debunked: Former Top 100 ATP Pro, Jeff Salzenstein, is exposing 3 common myths that could be crippling your forehands potential. Most players make at least 1 of these 3 mistakes… Do you?

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